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Useful Temperate Plants

Aesculus indica

(Wall. ex Cambess.) Hook.

Sapindaceae

+ Synonyms

Pavia indica Wall. ex Cambess.

Pawia indica Kuntze

Common Name: Indian Horse Chestnut

Aesculus indica
Flowering tree in Queenstown Garden, New Zealand.
Photograph by: Wouter Hagens
Public domain
Aesculus indica Aesculus indica Aesculus indica

General Information

Aesculus indica is a deciduous tree with a large, dense, spreading crown; it can reach a height of over 30 metres in the wild. The bole is often short, usually around 100cm in diameter, but it can be much more[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
372
Title
Flowers of India
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.flowersofindia.net/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A wed site of native Indian plants, plus cultivated and naturalized species. It has good quality photos and terse details on more than 3,000 species and cultivars.
].
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. A very ornamental tree, but only suitable for large areas.

Known Hazards

Most, if not all, species in this genus are poisonous, containing the glycoside aesculin, the saponin aescin, and possibly alkaloids[
293
Title
Poisonous Plants of North Carolina
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/poison.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent concise but comprehensive guide to toxic plants that grow in N. Carolina. It lists even those plants that are of very low toxicity, including several well-known food plants such as carrots and potatoes.
].
The seed is rich in saponins[
20
Title
Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Publication
 
Author
Riotte. L.
Publisher
Garden Way, Vermont, USA.
Year
1978
ISBN
0-88266-064-0
Description
Fairly good.
,
65
Title
A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Frohne. D. and Pfänder. J.
Publisher
Wolfe
Year
1984
ISBN
0723408394
Description
Brilliant. Goes into technical details but in a very readable way. The best work on the subject that I've come across so far.
]. Although poisonous, saponins are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be found in many common foods such as some beans. They can be removed by carefully leaching the seed or flour in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Botanical References

11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
51
Title
Flowers of the Himalayas.
Publication
 
Author
Polunin. O. and Stainton. A.
Publisher
Oxford Universtiy Press
Year
1984
ISBN
-
Description
A very readable and good pocket guide (if you have a very large pocket!) to many of the wild plants in the Himalayas. Gives many examples of plant uses.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

E. Asia - North-western Himalayas.

Habitat

Wet temperate forests and shady ravines at elevations up to 3,000 metres[
51
Title
Flowers of the Himalayas.
Publication
 
Author
Polunin. O. and Stainton. A.
Publisher
Oxford Universtiy Press
Year
1984
ISBN
-
Description
A very readable and good pocket guide (if you have a very large pocket!) to many of the wild plants in the Himalayas. Gives many examples of plant uses.
,
243
Title
Medicinal Plants of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
Dept. of Medicinal Plants. Nepal.
Year
1993
ISBN
-
Description
Terse details of the medicinal properties of Nepalese plants, including cultivated species and a few imported herbs.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Tree
Height30.00 m
PollinatorsBees
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Aesculus indica is a plant of moderate to high elevations in the Himalayas. It is quite cold tolerant, especially when dormant, but grows best in areas where the minimum temperatures do not fall below about -5°c[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Young growth in the spring can be cut back by late frosts in low-lying districts[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
126
Title
The Plantsman. Vol. 6. 1984 - 1985.
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Royal Horticultural Society
Year
1984
ISBN
-
Description
Excerpts from the periodical giving cultivation details and other notes on some of the useful plants including Actinidia and Wisteria species.
].
Prefers a deep loamy well-drained soil but is not too fussy[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Succeeds on chalk[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
]. Dislikes dry soils[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
].
Trees cast quite a dense shade[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
].
Seedlings quickly develop a taproot and larger plants can be difficult to transplant[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
].

Edible Uses

Seed - cooked. It can be dried, ground into a powder and used as a gruel[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
,
145
Title
Forest Flora of Srinagar.
Publication
 
Author
Singh. Dr. G. and Kachroo. Prof. Dr. P.
Publisher
Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
A good flora of the western Himalayas but poorly illustrated. Some information on plant uses.
,
146
Title
A Manual of Indian Timbers.
Publication
 
Author
Gamble. J. S.
Publisher
Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh
Year
1972
ISBN
-
Description
First written in the 19th century, but still a classic, giving a lot of information on the uses and habitats of Indian trees. Not for the casual reader.
,
158
Title
Forest Flora of Chakrata, Dehra Dun and Saharanpur.
Publication
 
Author
Gupta. B. L.
Publisher
Forest Research Institute Press
Year
1945
ISBN
-
Description
A good flora for the middle Himalayan forests, sparsly illustrated. Not really for the casual reader.
]. The seed is roasted then eaten in Nepal[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
]. It is also dried then ground into a flour and used with wheat flour to develop the flavour when making bread[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
]. The seed is quite large, about 35mm in diameter[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
], and is easily harvested. Unfortunately it also contains toxic saponins and these need to be removed before it can be eaten. The seed is used as an emergency food in times of famine when all else fails[
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
]. It is dried and ground into a powder, this is then soaked in water for about 12 hours before use in order to remove the bitter saponins and can be used to make a 'halva'[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
]. It is estimated that mature trees yield about 60kg of seeds per annum in the wild[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
]. See also the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal

The seed is astringent, acrid and narcotic[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
].
An oil from the seed is applied externally in the treatment of skin disease and rheumatism[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
,
243
Title
Medicinal Plants of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
Dept. of Medicinal Plants. Nepal.
Year
1993
ISBN
-
Description
Terse details of the medicinal properties of Nepalese plants, including cultivated species and a few imported herbs.
,
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
]. A paste made from the oil cake is applied to the forehead to relieve headaches[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
].
The seed is given to horses suffering from colic[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
,
243
Title
Medicinal Plants of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
Dept. of Medicinal Plants. Nepal.
Year
1993
ISBN
-
Description
Terse details of the medicinal properties of Nepalese plants, including cultivated species and a few imported herbs.
]. It is also used as an anthelmintic on horses to rid them of intestinal parasites[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
].

The bak is astringent, and is used as a tonic and febrifuge[
287
Title
Flora of Pakistan
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.efloras.org
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
As of 2006, there is not much information on habitats available, but it is being developed and promises to be an excellent resource.
]. The juice of the bark is also used to treat rheumatism[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
].

Other Uses

Saponins in the seed are used as a soap substitute[
169
Title
A Weavers Garden
Publication
 
Author
Buchanan. R.
Publisher
McGraw-Hill Contemporary
Year
1987
ISBN
0934026289
Description
Covers all aspects of growing your own clothes, from fibre plants to dyes.
]. The saponins can be easily obtained by chopping the seed into small pieces and infusing them in hot water. This water can then be used for washing the body, clothes etc. Its main drawback is a lingering odour of horse chestnuts[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Wood - soft, close grained. Used for construction, cases, spoons, cups etc[
145
Title
Forest Flora of Srinagar.
Publication
 
Author
Singh. Dr. G. and Kachroo. Prof. Dr. P.
Publisher
Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
A good flora of the western Himalayas but poorly illustrated. Some information on plant uses.
,
146
Title
A Manual of Indian Timbers.
Publication
 
Author
Gamble. J. S.
Publisher
Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh
Year
1972
ISBN
-
Description
First written in the 19th century, but still a classic, giving a lot of information on the uses and habitats of Indian trees. Not for the casual reader.
,
158
Title
Forest Flora of Chakrata, Dehra Dun and Saharanpur.
Publication
 
Author
Gupta. B. L.
Publisher
Forest Research Institute Press
Year
1945
ISBN
-
Description
A good flora for the middle Himalayan forests, sparsly illustrated. Not really for the casual reader.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown outdoors or in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
80
Title
Hardy Woody Plants from Seed.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Grower Books
Year
1985
ISBN
0-901361-21-6
Description
Does not deal with many species but it is very comprehensive on those that it does cover. Not for casual reading.
]. The seed germinates almost immediately and must be given protection from severe weather[
130
Title
The Plantsman. Vol. 4. 1982 - 1983.
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Royal Horticultural Society
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Excerpts from the periodical giving cultivation details and other notes on some of the useful plants, including Distylium racemosum and some perennial members of the family Berberidaceae.
]. Seedlings develop a large taproot following germination and so, if grown in containers, should be given sufficient root room[
379
Title
Silvics of North America. Agricultural Handbook No. 654.
Publication
 
Author
Burns. R.M. & Honkala. B.H.
Website
http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington DC.
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensice guide to about 200 species of timber trees of N. America, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Mainly temperate species, plus a number of tropical species. It is downloadable from the Internet.
]. The seed has a very limited viability and must not be allowed to dry out. Stored seed should be soaked for 24 hours prior to sowing and even after this may still not be viable[
80
Title
Hardy Woody Plants from Seed.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Grower Books
Year
1985
ISBN
0-901361-21-6
Description
Does not deal with many species but it is very comprehensive on those that it does cover. Not for casual reading.
,
113
Title
The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation.
Publication
 
Author
Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W.
Publisher
Athens Ga. Varsity Press
Year
1987
ISBN
0942375009
Description
A very detailed book on propagating trees. Not for the casual reader.
]. It is best to sow the seed with its 'scar' downwards[
130
Title
The Plantsman. Vol. 4. 1982 - 1983.
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Royal Horticultural Society
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Excerpts from the periodical giving cultivation details and other notes on some of the useful plants, including Distylium racemosum and some perennial members of the family Berberidaceae.
]. If sowing the seed in a cold frame, pot up the seedlings in early spring and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2018-08-16. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Aesculus+indica>

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